What is virtual net energy metering?

Virtual net energy metering (VNEM) is a billing arrangement allowing for a single solar electric system to offset multiple common area and tenant meters. The monthly solar generation is divvied out to the participating accounts using predetermined percentages that are defined by the property owner. Using those percent allocations, the utility applies solar credits directly to the multiple account holders’ utility bills. The SOMAH program requires all projects use VNEM to allocate a minimum of 51% of the solar credits directly to the tenants.

  1. Individual photovoltaic (PV) cells are embedded onto panels. Sunlight striking the panels is chemically converted into direct current (DC) electricity.
  2. The DC electricity goes to an inverter that transforms it into alternating current (AC) for use at your site.
  3. The total solar production is recorded by a generation meter and is sent to the grid to be virtually allocated out to each benefiting utility account at the property.
Diagram of SOMAH virtual net energy metering allocation process

VNEM interconnections steps

  • 1

    Property owner or contractor submits completed VNEM application with single-line drawings

  • 2

    Utility reviews VNEM application

  • 3

    System is installed to utility’s service standards and receives final sign off from the building department

  • 4

    The signed-off building permit is submitted to interconnection and the building department submits green tags to the utility’s meter set desk

  • 5

    Once the utility receives the building permit and green tags it will schedule setting up VNEM

*Disclaimer: This process can vary by utility. Check with the appropriate utility for requirements for VNEM interconnection.